Author Spotlight: Pat Zietlow Miller

May 1, 2015

KidLit411 is proud to present the very talented Pat Zietlow Miller in the Author Spotlight this week. Be sure to enter her giveaway of a signed copy of her newest book, WHEREVER YOU GO.

Welcome, Pat!

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I write picture books. My second book, WHEREVER YOU GO, was released this month. I want to write picture books that get increasingly better, that stretch my skills and that really resonate with the children and parents who read them. 

Which writers inspire you?

There are lots of picture book writers who inspire me. But today, I’m going to talk about two unlikely writers who have inspired me – Erma Bombeck and Rick Reilly. I read their work long before I started writing picture books and although Erma wrote humorous essays and Rick Reilly writes sports columns, I admire them for similar reasons. 

Both put words together in the perfect order. There have been times I’ve had to set things they’ve written down just so I could momentarily marvel at how they chose the perfect words. And, they both are laugh-out-loud funny. I am a much better writer for having read and studied them.

What is your favorite quote?

I love quotations. One of my favorites is from Longfellow: “Let us then be up and doing, with a heart for any fate. Still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait.” I like it because it’s a reminder that you have to get up and go after your goals and be open to all outcomes. 

It’s also a good quote for writers because a lot of writing is laboring and then waiting. Waiting for inspiration. Waiting to hear back from an agent or editor. Waiting to see if your book will sell or be well-received.

I often quote this to my kids as we leave to run errands. So they may not view it as positively as I do.

What books are you reading at present?

I just started THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH by Martha Brockenbrough, and it’s very compelling and beautifully written. I’ve already had the thought that I could never write something as deep and detailed and polished. I should have it finished in the next few days.

And, I just finished HOLD ME CLOSER: THE TINY COOPER STORY, which is a companion book to WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON, by David Levithan and John Green. HOLD ME CLOSER (written just by David Levithan) is the actual script to the musical Tiny Cooper writes in WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON, and it is chock full of pop culture references to “Glee,” “High School Musical II,” “Yentl” and “Damn Yankees.” It’s no wonder I loved it.

As far as picture books go, I am looking forward to reading YARD SALE, written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo and SONA AND THE WEDDING GAME, written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi. (I got a sneak peek at an early proof of this, and it is lovely.)

Pat Zietlow Miller is a picture book writer from Madison, Wisconsin. Her first book, SOPHIE’S SQUASH, won the Golden Kite Award for picture book text. It also won an Ezra Jack Keats Honor and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor. She has seven additional books under contract. Pat has one husband, two daughters and two cats. 

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  1. I have all kinds of admiration for Pat. She's driven and so talented! She puts words together in the perfect order :-)

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  3. Looking forward to reading this one!

  4. I can't wait to read this, Pat! Thanks for the interview, Sylvia & Elaine :)

    I LOVED Yard Sale, Pat--it's so touching--it made me weep. I loved Will Grayson Will Grayson, so I know I love Tiny's story too. And if there are Glee references, all the better!

  5. Sophie's Squash is a wonderful book - it's even being used in a writing class I'm taking. I ordered a book for my great-nephew and he's been checking the mailbox to see if it's come yet. I know this new book will be just as spectacular.

  6. I am too darn sick to get to the bookstore, but I have a copy waiting there that will be a graduation gift. So why not enter for another - for me? Looking forward to all Pat's future books, even the ones she can't see herself writing yet!

  7. Great post. I love Pat's books!

  8. Thank you for the great interview. I love Pat's favorite quote. I will be saying it out loud.

  9. What an interesting choice of inspiring writers--makes perfect sense when you explain the reasons why. Your books are a delight!

  10. Thank you for yet another inspiring interview! Congratulations on your new book, Pat! It's absolutely beautiful. I also love the quote by Longfellow.

  11. My husband used to have a Sports Illustrated subscription, and I'd always go straight to Rick Reilly's column. It was the only part of the magazine I read. So funny and insightful.

    I've been looking forward to your new picture book for some time. I adored Sophie's Squash.

  12. Pat, Thanks for sharing your favorite quote. I can't wait to add WHEREVER YOU GO to my collection of mentor books.

  13. Thanks for a chance to win a signed copy of your book!

  14. Can't wait to read your new book. And all the future books to come!

  15. Charming cover! I can't wait to read your latest book.

  16. You know an interview is good when it makes you laugh and learn something at the same time! Plus, giveaway! :D Thanks, Pat and Kidlit411!

  17. I love Sophie's Squash and feel like I know Pat from all her interviews. :) Thanks for the giveaway.


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